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Death Investigation Involving ODOT Employee - Interstate 84 / Mosier
01/16/2010
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247
 
Peter W. Murphy
ODOT Public Affairs
Phone: (541) 325-2258

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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Oregon State Police (OSP) and the Wasco County Medical Examiner are continuing the investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of an ODOT employee found early Saturday morning in a creek bed below Interstate 84 just east of the Mosier interchange. The man's name is being released after his body was found by an OSP trooper and ODOT employee following a brief search in the area where his unoccupied ODOT vehicle was found. There is no indication the death was the result of a crime and an autopsy is going to be scheduled.
 
On January 16, 2010 at approximately 4:36 a.m. OSP Northern Command Center dispatch was contacted by ODOT after an employee found one of their vehicles unoccupied in the right eastbound lane of Interstate 84 near milepost 69 with the driver's door open and the rotating yellow beacon light activated. The location was in a highway construction work zone about 200 yards east of the Mosier interchange where the freeway bridges a creek bed.
 
An OSP trooper was called out from their residence to respond and investigate. Additional information indicated PAUL E. EWERS, age 55, from Mosier, was scheduled to go off duty at 3:00 a.m. and was last seen by another employee about 2:00 a.m. in The Dalles at which time he left driving west to check the freeway lanes prior to ending his work schedule. When EWERS had not been heard or seen from at the end of his shift, another ODOT employee drove west in an attempt to locate him and found the unoccupied vehicle.
 
The trooper and ODOT employee searched the area and spotted EWERS' body at 5:24 a.m. approximately 36 feet below the freeway lanes in Mosier Creek. He had fallen through a gap between the east and westbound lanes where the freeway spans Mosier Creek. The trooper went down and confirmed EWERS was deceased.
 
OSP troopers from The Dalles Area Command office are continuing the investigation.
 
Anyone who was traveling on Interstate 84 in the Mosier area early Saturday morning between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. that may have seen the ODOT vehicle and/or an ODOT employee wearing a reflective vest near the parked vehicle is asked to contact OSP Northern Command Center dispatch at 800-452-7888.
 
Questions for ODOT should be directed to Peter Murphy.